Interview: Artist Shantell Martin Discusses the Power of a Single Line and Why Positivity Is Her Biggest Inspiration
Shantell Martin has been exploring the magic in a single line since childhood, working primarily in black-and-white to inscribe walls, canvases, and other objects with abstracted faces and affirmational text. In a new interview supported by Colossal Members, managing editor Grace Ebert spoke with Martin about the vast potential of that seemingly minimal form, the joy and fun of collaborating for the sake of collaborating, and her unwavering approach to positive thinking.
I’ve been on this journey, trying to make a recognizable line. What if my line becomes so recognizable that it’s one of the most recognizable artist lines on the planet? ? There’s something so profound about that because literally, we can all make those marks… The foundation of a line is something that’s represented in architecture, design, and in fashion. You can build upon it and imagine upon it in any way that you choose to.
Inviting, accessible, and universally relevant, her monochromatic drawings are prompts for the viewer: Who are you? Are you you? She continually asks for introspection, for better articulating our positions in the world, and for questioning the structures around us, a practice she mirrors in her own life and work. In this conversation, Martin recounts her early career in Japan, shares how she’s cultivated an intense ability to focus, and explains why challenge is the impetus for many of her new projects.
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